The Broadway League, representing theater producers and general managers, has formed a coalition of area restaurants and organizations to oppose a proposed casino in Times Square.
The No Times Square Casino coalition, which also includes the famous theater restaurant Sardi’s, the Times Square Church and the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association, is opposing Caesar Entertainment and SL Green Realty Corporation’s proposal to build a casino at 1515 Broadway , called Caesars Palace Times Square. Roc Nation and Jay-Z have also committed to working together at the casino.
This is one of many properties bidding for a license to build a casino in New York State. The casino has its supporters, including some area hotel chains and the Actors’ Equity Association and Local 802, which represents Broadway musicians, The New York Times reported. Community approval will play a big role in whether or not the casino proposal is accepted.
Common concerns among members of the No Times Square Casino coalition include increased traffic congestion in Times Square, the fact that casino visitors are largely incentivized to stay indoors rather than dine in or patronize other venues, more gamblers who come to the area and worry about the staying power of the operation.
Coalition members are concerned about the casino’s impact on the Times Square area as it continues to recover from the closure of all Broadway theaters and the lingering effects of the pandemic.
“After a decades-long turnaround that revitalized the neighborhood and made it a destination of choice for locals, businesses and tourists, Times Square is one of the most vibrant areas in the country. We don’t want that progress to be jeopardized by a casino,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. “We hope that more members of the community will join as the casino placement process progresses.”
Area restaurants, which rely largely on Broadway theatergoers and were closed for much of the pandemic, are also concerned about the casino’s impact on business.
“No matter how much emphasis promoters try to place on glitz and glamour, a Times Square casino has the potential to unravel the fabric of the theater district and jeopardize the fate of its restaurants,” said Max Klimavicius, owner of Sardi’s.
Other members of the association include four neighborhood or tenant associations, the American Bus Association, and The Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Chelsea Coalition for Pedestrian Safety.